SJ3384 : The Lever Memorial, Industry, Education, Charity and Art
near to Port Sunlight, Wirral, Great Britain
Port Sunlight Garden Village
Port Sunlight was built in the late 1880s by William Hesketh Lever (later Viscount Leverhulme) to expand his soap-making business, which was at that time based in Warrington. His company (Lever Brothers, now part of Unilever) bought the area of flat unused marshy land south of the River Mersey. It was large enough to allow space for expansion, and had a prime location between the river and a railway line. Work commenced in 1888 and the site became Port Sunlight, where William Lever built his works and a model village to house his employees. The village name is derived from Lever Brothers’ most popular brand of soap, "Sunlight". William Lever personally supervised planning the village, which is arguably the finest surviving example of early urban planning in the UK.
Between 1899 and 1914, approximately 900 houses were built to house a population of 3,500 in addition to some larger "principal" buildings including the Lady Lever Art Gallery, a cottage hospital, schools, a concert hall, open air swimming pool, church, and a temperance hotel. Nearly every building in the village is Grade II listed and two sections of the landscape are included in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. Lever employed over 30 different architects in the building of the village resulting in a mix of architectural styles enhanced by the parkland and some excellent public sculptures.
Lever was a philanthropist with a passion for art and architecture. The garden village had allotments and public buildings; Lever introduced welfare schemes, and provided for the education and entertainment of his workforce, encouraging recreation and organisations which promoted art, literature, science or music. The sheer scale of his philanthropy was unprecedented and the whole of Port Sunlight is now a Conservation Area and a major tourist attraction for The Wirral, standing as an enduring testament to the achievements of a remarkable man.
Today, approximately 250 of the houses in the village belong to the Port Sunlight Village Trust. The remainder are privately owned having been sold by the company during the 1980s. Up until that decade, all residents of Port Sunlight were employees of Unilever and their families.
Link Port Sunlight Village Trust
Link Wikipedia Article (Port Sunlight)
Link Wikipedia biography (William Hesketh Lever)
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- Grid Square
- SJ3384, 343 images (more nearby )
- David Dixon (find more nearby)
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- Supplemental image
- Date Taken
- Tuesday, 5 June, 2012 (more nearby)
- Thursday, 7 June, 2012
- Geographical Context
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- Subject Location
OSGB36: SJ 3353 8476 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:21.3315N 3:0.0077W
- Photographer Location
- OSGB36: SJ 3351 8476
- View Direction
- EAST (about 90 degrees)
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